Last night I toasted the arrival of 2018 with three new friends. Who knew that 2017 would be so generous with friendship? I certainly did not. My sister says that pleasant and unexpected surprises happen when living with “the absence of expectation, thereby preventing disappointment”.
In other words, be present, be open, and find joy.
That mantra was the essence of my journey in 2017; executing it proved bountiful. I shared the evening last night with two of who I met from my Improv class at Westside Improv, and one I met from Essencia Health and Wellness. Yoga and Improv continually teach me and sometimes force me to let go of inhibitions and fears through the flexibility of mind, body, and spirit.
So, what does that look like? It starts with the breath. Inhaling and exhaling to release the nonsense and capture the grace. It’s like dancing, that when practiced regularly a duo becomes fluid and in sync with one another. Envision the inhale as the dance’s lead and the exhale as its follower, they must trust in one another to enjoy the dance. Replace the words inhale and exhale with breathe and trust. The repeated exercise of breathing builds trust in your mind, body, and spirit, allowing you to open each element of self, and that openness and vulnerability will yield joy.
Last night was a joyful end to a year with plenty of openings and closings. After dinner, my friend Karin and I shared a glass of champagne at her home. We talked about our upcoming graduation from Westside, and how humbling the class has been. Both of us thought we were so funny before we signed up for the class. What we appreciated last night, is that we were certainly funny before we signed up, and we remain funny. It’s only when we stop and think, we hesitate to place the scene on hold to configure a “correct” response, do we undermine our own wit. It was our “a-ha” moment last night. Stop thinking about how you want the audience or think the audience should see you. Just be yourself.
Our improv teacher told us in our first class, not think about being funny. And the dude is a good teacher because he’s right. He also told us this, “Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken.” He tried to take credit for it, but I told him that belonged to Oscar Wilde. Karin coincidentally recalled the Oscar Wilde quote last night to which we applauded one another that we are best when we are our authentic self. At which time we made a second toast of the evening: toast, “Cheers to the year of Karen/ Karin.”
It is your year, too. So enjoy it. Own it. And by God, do what Oscar said, “Be yourself. Everybody else is already taken.”